ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019): Violin Sonata No. 2, TONY SCHEMMER (b. 1946): Violin Sonata, PAUL GAY (b.1936): Violin Sonata.
Catalogue Number: 11X049
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Three attractive, substantial, tonal violin sonatas by "senior" American composers. The recognition of Previn's compositions may have been hampered by the fact that he was so good at so many things; certainly this expressive neo-romantic sonata deserves a place in the repertory. The first movement has the two instruments bouncing ideas off each other, with a sense of playful one-upmanship. The middle movement combines slow movement - "Desolate" and tragic in tone - and scherzo "Fast, like shadows", with occasional jazzy touches. The finale dances and flows in loquacious exuberance, suggesting a lively folk gathering. Schemmer's four-movement, almost half-hour sonata is in classical form and jazz idiom, paying eloquent tribute to numerous jazz greats (not only violinists), from Gershwin to Django Reinhardt, Grapelli, and Oscar Peterson. The gorgeously lyrical second movement ballad evokes Spirituals in the style of William Grant Still. ‘Omaggio a Django’ is the work’s scherzo, full of infectious Charleston rhythms. The finale begins with a long, contemplative piano solo, after which a succession of faster episodes - Prokofiev toccata-like, a swinging episode, a tongue-in-cheek fugato, and after a gentle section that recalls the second movement, an energetic coda. Gay's sonata is warmly tonal and neo-romantic, with distinct echoes of early 20th century French styles. A rhapsodic first movement is followed by a slightly melancholy and wistful movement in waltz time, and a Chopinesque "Idyll". The finale's "Games" are played with fragments of the earlier movements, the harmonic language very Debussyan, the mood alternately heroic, lively, and passionate, with a gentle berceuse for a coda. Aleksey Semenenko (violin), Artem Belogurov (piano).